Contemporary Profile of South Jamaica

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Present day South Jamaica has the largest African-American population in the borough of Queens[1]. The area is largely a working-class community consisting primarily of suburban one and two-family houses and a number of smaller apartment buildings, along with some public housing projects. South Jamaica today is a community trying to overcome the violence and crack-based drug culture that it came to symbolize in the 1980's. The violence of the 80’s has subsided dramatically in South Jamaica. As Dan Andrews, spokesman for Borough President Helen Marshall, states "There's been a dramatic improvement in this area". Overall, life has changed for the better. However some key issues continue to plague the community.


Notable Sites

See: Creative Accents

Explore South Jamaica

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FYI, that probably isn't the number 1 chinese food restaurant in South Jamaica.

Current Issues

Foreclosures and Subprime Mortgages

South Jamaica today has some of the highest foreclosure rates in the city. In October 2007, the census tract in the city with the most foreclosure filings was in South Jamaica, where 39 of the roughly 140 properties on one four-block stretch, specifically the homes on 118th Avenue and 153rd Street, had been in various stages of foreclosure since 2004[2]. High foreclosure rates have led to decreasing property values. Small businesses are in turn struggling and crime has increased. Squatting is becoming a growing problem. Residents of South Jamaica complain that empty homes have encouraged people from other neighborhoods to loiter on the street, drinking beer and making noise at all hours[3]. According to Marilyn Cush, turnover in ownership of single-family houses has been common in the 18 years since she and her husband moved to 152nd St[4]. Thus the issue isn’t a new one yet a growing problem.

The core of the foreclosure epidemic, affecting South Jamaica as well as neighborhoods in other cities around the country, is subprime lending. Subprime loans represent only 15% of all mortgages but more than half of all foreclosures[5]. In 2005, 69 percent of the homes purchased in Tract 288, the area located around Baisley Pond in South Jamaica, were bought with subprime mortgages[6]. According to the census tract, No. 288 had 226 foreclosure filings on one- to four-family homes from 2003-2008. Subprime lending made it easy for people with modest incomes (in 1999 the median household income in Tract 288 was $44,348) and poor credit histories to buy homes.


The residents of Southeast Queens have long been plagued by severe flooding, deteriorating roadways and miles of curbs and sidewalks in major disrepair. In 1992, the City of New York began an $81 million reconstruction project to improve the infrastructure of southeast Queens[7]. Catch basins, sewers, water mains, utility lines and signage were upgraded and installed, new roadways were built and curbs and sidewalks were reconstructed. The project was completed in 2006. However, flooding is still a problem in parts of South Jamaica, i.e. 159th Street[8]. This problem is largely due to poor drainage. The Department of Transportation has responded by budgeting money its 5 year capital plan for street improvements in areas like 159th Street in South Jamaica.

Community Information[9]


Public Elementary Schools

PS 40Q
Samuel Huntington School
109-20 Union Hall Street
Jamaica, New York 11433
Phone: (718) 526-1906

PS 48Q
William Wordsworth School
155-02 108th Avenue
Jamaica, New York 11433
Phone: (718) 739-4463

PS 116
William J. Hughley School
107-25 Wren Place
Jamaica, New York 11433
Phone: (718) 526-4884

PS 140
Edward K. Ellington School
116-00 166th Street
Jamaica, New York 11434
Phone: (718) 657-4760

PS 160
Walter Francis Bishop School
109-59 Inwood Street
Jamaica, New York 11435
Phone: (718) 526-5523

Public Intermediate/junior High Schools

MS 8
New Prepatory Middle School
108-35 167th Street
Jamaica, New York 11433
Phone: (718) 739-6883

Public High Schools

High School for Law Enforcement and Public Safety
116-25 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard
Jamaica, New York 11434

Queens High School for Science at York College
94-50 159th Street
Jamaica, New York 11433

Private / Parochial Schools

Myrtle Jarmon School
116-55 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard
Jamaica, New York 11434
Phone: (718) 528-0922

Allen Chrisitian School
171-10 Linden Boulevard
Jamaica, New York 11434
Phone: (718) 657-1676

Emergency Services

Fire Department

Engine Company 275
111-36 Merrick Boulevard
Jamaica, New York 11433

Police Department

103rd Precinct
168-02 P. O. Edward Byrne Avenue
Jamaica, New York 11432
Phone: (718) 657-8181

Local Hospitals

Queens Health Center
97-04 Sutphin Boulevard
Jamaica, New York 11435
Phone: (718) 657-7088

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center
89th Avenue and Van Wyck Expressway
Jamaica, New York 11418
Phone: (718) 206-6000

Mary Immaculate
152-11 89th Avenue
Jamaica, New York 11432
Phone: (718) 558-2000

Parks and Playgrounds

PS 40 Playground
109th Avenue and Brinkerhoff Avenue
Jamaica, New York

Liberty Park
106th Avenue, 173rd Street, Liberty Avenue and 172
Jamaica, New York

Marconi Memorial Field
109th Avenue, 157th Street, 108th Avenue and 155th
Jamaica, New York

Roy Wilkins Park
Merrick Boulevard and Baisley Boulevard
Jamaica, New York

IS 8 Playground
167th Street and 109th Avenue
Jamaica, New York

Elected Officials

New York City Council District #27

Leroy Comrie
District Office Address
113-43 Farmers Blvd.
Phone: (718) 776-3700
Fax: (718) 776-3798

New York State Assembly District #32

Vivian E. Cook
142-15 Rockaway Blvd
Jamaica, NY 11436
Phone: (718)322-3975

New York State Senate District #10

Shirley Huntley
808 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-3531

116-43 Sutphin Boulevard
Jamaica, NY 11434
Phone: (718) 322-2537

U.S. Congressional District #6

District 6 Gregory Meeks
1710 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3461
Fax: (202) 226-4169

153-01 Jamaica Ave
Jamaica, NY 11432
Phone: 718-725-6000
Fax: 718-725-9868

Data Report[10]

Community Profile

  • Population 30,008
  • Number of Households 9,095
  • Median Age 34.77
  • Median Income $40,662
  • Crime Index 99

Population Details


  • Male 45.8%
  • Female 54.2%


  • White 13.0%
  • Black 69.9%
  • Asian/Pacfic Islander 7.6%
  • Other 9.0%


  • Hispanic 11.5%
  • Non-Hispanic 88.5%

Population Change

  • Since 1990 16%
  • Since 2000 7%


  • Total crime risk 99
  • Personal crime risk 160
  • Murder risk 179
  • Rape risk 84
  • Assault risk 143
  • Property crime risk 76
  • Burglary risk 48
  • Larceny risk 83
  • Motor vehicie theft risk 69

* Total Crime Risk is a score that represents the combined risks of rape, murder, assault, robbery, burglary, larceny and vehicle theft compared to the national average of 100. A score of 200 indicates twice the national average total crime risk, while 50 indicates half the national risk. The different types of crime are given equal weight in this score, so murder, for example, does not count more than vehicle theft. Scores are based on demographic and geographic analyses of crime over seven years[11].

Household Breakdown

  • Average household size 3
  • Single 53.3%
  • Married 23.4%
  • Separated 9.6%
  • Widowed 6.6%
  • Divorced 7.1%
  • Household:Family 70.8%
  • Households:Non-family 29.2%
  • Households:No Children 57.0%


  • Median household income $35,383
  • Change in average household income 26%
  • Per capita income $16,513

Household income by range

  • $0-$50K 5,256
  • $50K-$100K 2,563
  • $100K-$200K 1,119
  • Over $200K 158

Home Value

  • Median house sale price $390,000
  • Median value of home equity $149,689
  • Median value of investment property equity $21,080
  • Median value of vehicles owned $15,697
  • Average total household expenditures $45,147
  • Median mortgage debt $51,600

Housing Information

  • Median dwelling age 48.0
  • Owner-occupied dwellings 46%
  • Renter-occupied dwelling 40%
  • Vacant dwellings 13%
  • Median years in residence 3


Education Attainment

  • HS degree 23.0%
  • Bachelors Degree 8.3%
  • Graduate Degree 3.6%

Enrollment by grade

  • Nursery/Pre-School 125
  • Kindergarten 90
  • Grades 1-4 861
  • Grades 5-8 1,359


  • Household with one vehicle 35%
  • Household wirh two or more vehicles 23%
  • Household without Vehicles 42%
  • Transport to work: Public 56%
  • Transport to work: Drive Carpool 38%
  • Transport to work: Walk/Bike/Other 5%
  • Median travel time to work 50

Currently The Q6, Q7, and Q40 buses all go through the community of South Jamaica.[12]

See Also

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  1. Queens Library, "Community and Library History," Queens Library, (accessed March 16, 2009).
  2. Fernandez, Manny. "To Avert Blight, City Will Repair and Resell Vacant Homes ." The New York Times, January 14, 2009, New York edition. (accessed April 15, 2009).
  3. Fernandez, Manny. "Door to Door, Foreclosure Knocks Here." The New York Times, October 18, 2008, New York edition. (accessed April 15, 2009).
  4. WISLOSKI, Jeff. "Foreclosures in Jamaica now home to squatters, druggies - making ghost town." Daily News, February 17, 2008. (accessed April 15, 2009).
  5. Gonzalez, Juan. "Set Up For A Fall. Subprime Mortgages Lead To Record Foreclosures In The City's Poorest Nabes." Daily News (New York), March 28, 2007, Final edition. (accessed April 15, 2009).
  6. Fernandez, Manny. "Door to Door, Foreclosure Knocks Here." The New York Times, October 18, 2008, New York edition. (accessed April 15, 2009).
  7. Haas, Robin. "SOUTHEAST QUEENS CHEERS FIXUP." New York Daily News, July 10, 2002. (accessed April 16, 2009).
  8. NY 1. "South Jamaica Residents Battle Floodwaters." December 13, 2008. NY 1. (accessed April 24, 2009).
  9. Queens Library, "Community and Library History," Queens Library, (accessed March 16, 2009).
  10. The New York Times. "South Jamaica, Queens, NY : Data Report." The New York Times. (accessed April 24, 2009).
  11. Move. "Glossary of Terms." HomeFair. (accessed April 25, 2009).
  12. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. "MTA Bus Schedules." Metropolitan Transportation Authority. (accessed April 24, 2009).
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